Golf Course Planning & Research Project

Environmentally Sensitive Design & Approaches for Golf Course Conversions & Development


As an attractive, mature suburb within commuting distance from Boston, Canton is a highly desirable place to live. Demand for housing is extremely strong and there is a limited amount of vacant land. Four private golf courses are located in Canton, and all are zoned for low-density single-family residential. While the town's understanding is golf course owners have no immediate plans to sell or significantly redevelop their property, it’s important for any potential golf course development or conversions to reflect the community’s vision for housing, mitigate fiscal impacts to Town services, and protect important environmental resources.

Canton’s recently updated Master Plan (2020) noted that all the golf course lands are located in areas that are considered environmentally sensitive, whether because they lie in the Groundwater Protection Overlay District or sit adjacent to the Reservoir Pond. It recommended zoning these areas with more environmentally sensitive design, that would allow for pavement reduction, buffers to surface waters, and the use of nature based solutions to treat stormwater runoff. 

In coordination with the Planning Department, a group of Tufts University Planning graduate students are developing options for the Town to ensure that any golf course development or conversion would be done in an environmentally sensitive way that is broadly appealing to the community and consistent with the Master Plan. This might include recommendations around policy adoption, land acquisition, conservation easements, incentives or zoning changes. Project research, community input, and data collection would be summarized into a comprehensive report. This comprehensive report would be used by Town staff, boards and committees to enact policies, allocate funds, negotiate with golf course owners, and propose specific zoning changes over the next 5 years.


Golf course map
groundwater resources map


You are invited to participate in a research study conducted by graduate students in the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Department at Tufts University. The purpose of this research is to do proactive long-term planning for Canton’s private golf course land and gather the public’s opinion on different types of development scenarios. Your participation is entirely voluntary and the researchers will make every effort to ensure that the information you provide as part of this study remains confidential. Your name will not appear in any report materials and is gathered only for the purposes of informed consent for participation. This study is for adults, ages 18 and above.

Your participation will involve taking one 5-minute online survey, which will ask your opinion about different types of development scenarios for private golf course land. It will also ask your opinion on whether or not you would support purchasing any open space land or conservation restrictions. Finally, it will ask if you are a Canton resident. We anticipate that about 100 people will participate in this research study. You may also (optionally) enter your email at the end for a chance to win a $25 Visa gift card. 

This survey will be available through March 31st, 2020.

You can access the English survey here.

You can access the Spanish survey here.